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Some household items will always be easier to pack and move to a new home than others. Most of the time, the difficulty of the packing process will be determined by the degree of fragility of the things to be packed up and moved to the new place.

In other words, non-fragile items are almost always easier to protect for an upcoming move than fragile ones. When you get to the task of packing your books for moving, you’re likely to be confident that you can get the job done without any problems whatsoever.

However, overconfidence could lead to possible book damage or even personal injuries. Why? Packing books for a move can be a bit tricky due to the fact that paper volumes tend to become really heavy when packed together.

Read on to learn the best way to pack books for moving.

Sort out your books

The very first thing you should do when you’re about to pack books for moving is to go through your book collection and check whether there are any volumes that are simply not worth the trouble to be packed and transported to the destination place.

There are several reasons why you must optimize your book collection prior to commencing the packing job:

  •       Interstate movers will charge you for the total weight of your shipment, meaning that the more books you decide to take with you, the more money you will pay for their transportation.
  •       You will waste valuable time packing and moving books that are just not worth it.
  •       You will have to find storage space in the new place for all the volumes that you don’t need and won’t ever read again.

The best thing you can do is to through all the books you own in order to figure out which copies deserve to be moved and which copies don’t. Sort out your volumes into two big piles: BOOKS TO TAKE and BOOKS NOT TO TAKE.

Yes, there will be books you will definitely take, and yes, there will be ones you will definitely leave behind. But what about the volumes that fall somewhere in the middle? Bear in mind that you might have to make some tough decisions during the book-sorting process.

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Make a decision about your unwanted books

Right after you’re done sorting out your book collection, you’re going to have to find the answer to an important question: what should you do with all the books that you’ve decided to leave behind?

All in all, you’ve got 4 good choices to get rid of the books you’re not taking with you to the new house:

  •       Organize a garage sale before moving out and display those volumes there in the hope that somebody will like them and purchase them. This is probably the best way to discard your unwanted books simply because you’ll earn some money as a result.
  •       Ask your siblings and friends if they would love to have any of the books you’re leaving behind. By doing this, you’ll know that at least some of the books you’ve owned will be in good hands.
  •       Donate the books you don’t want anymore to local charities. As long as the books are in decent condition, you should be able to find charitable organizations that will want them. Also, check at local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and of course – libraries.
  •       Throw away for recycling the volumes that are too damaged to be used again.

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Gather the book packing materials

The next step when packing books for moving is to get the necessary packing supplies so that your volumes can stay well protected during the transportation phase. Of course, it’s the boxes that will play the major role in keeping your paper copies safe.

The most important thing you should know when you’re looking for suitable containers for your books is that they should be small, with approximate dimensions of 20’’ x 11’’ x 11’’.  Why does this matter so much?

Books can become too heavy too quickly when crammed inside a box, so if pick large cardboard boxes for your books, then those containers will become too heavy to lift and carry safely. Ideally, you’ll be able to secure small boxes made up of thick cardboard that are perfectly clean and dry as well.

Besides good book boxes, you’re going to also need clean and soft packing paper, some packing tape, and a permanent marker to label the book boxes once you’ve filled them up.

It’s always a good idea to reinforce the book boxes with packing tape (their bottoms and their sides) even when the containers are brand new. Again, the reason for the extra safety measure proves to be the fact that books become too heavy when bundled together despite the light, airy feel of their pages.

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Protect your valuable books

Out of all the books you own, there will certainly be volumes that are way too valuable for you – the books that you love the most, the ones that are precious gifts from special people, or the ones that are extremely rare (such as first editions, for instance).

When you get to the point of packing your books for moving, you don’t want those priceless books to be packed up together with your regular copies. Instead, you’ll want those valuable books to be protected better and transported in a separate box that you will take with you in the car. Remember that you’re not supposed to hand over your truly valuable items to movers.

So, what you should do next is set aside all the special books you own and pack each one separately in soft wrapping paper before you place it carefully in a pre-padded book box that will only contain your most valuable reads.

Transfer the books into boxes

It’s time for the most critical steps when packing books for a move – their actual transfer into book boxes.

Here are the book packing steps in detail:

  •       Place a sheet of clean packing paper on the bottom of a book box.
  •       Start transferring your books from the bookcase into the cardboard box. The best way to do it is to work from the bottom shelf upwards.
  •       Pick between two major ways of packing books for moving: FLAT or UPRIGHT. You can also go with the SPINES DOWN packing method but it’s less common and less recommended.
  •       Use the flat packing method this way: place all books flat in the book box and stack them up along the side of the container. Position the heaviest books first.
  •       Use the upright packing method this way: place your books upright inside the cardboard container in such a way that their open parts face the side of the book box.
  •       Use the spines down packing method this way: arrange the volumes so that their spines face the bottom of the box while their open parts face you.
  •       Arrange all books one by one and make sure they are not packed too tight.
  •       Use sheets of wrapping paper to fill in any substantial gaps inside the carton when you’re done arranging your books inside it. The extra padding material will ensure the volumes won’t be able to shift around during transport.
  •       Place a sheet of wrapping paper on the very top, close the box, tape it securely, and label it BOOKS, then add the destination room: LIVING ROOM, BEDROOM, or STUDY.

Important: You should NEVER pack your books with their spines facing up toward you. Why? Their bindings are likely to get damaged due to the extra pressure from their own weight.

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Move extra heavy books in rolling suitcases

While packing books in small cardboard boxes is the most standard way to move books to a new home, the cartons are likely to become too heavy for safe handling.

You should not make book boxes heavier than 40 pounds – otherwise, you’ll run the risk of having those containers break under the heavy load and bad injuries on Moving day are never out of the question either.

But what about when you’re moving really heavy volumes such as big dictionaries and thick encyclopedias? How to pack heavy books for moving?

One ingenious way to move books to a new home is to pack them inside a travel suitcase – the one with small wheels on the bottom. Those rolling suitcases are quite sturdy and can safely take a much heavier load than book boxes could ever do.

So, reserve your largest and heaviest books for your travel suitcase and you should be just fine.

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